(*T* -- denotes reviews/submissions by Tavia)
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Books by Title: A - B - C
Agamemnon - the greek play by Aeschylus (sp?)|
Particularly for the character Clytemnestra, a seriously ruthless, kick-ass woman.
When Agamemnon kills their daughter as a sacrifice to the gods for good winds to
carry his ship to the trojan wars, Clytemnestra is left waiting for him to return
for nine long years. During that time, she plans her husband's murder and
takes a lover. She truly shines as a Heartless Bitch.
or privately treated...
Ammonite - by Nicola Griffith |
The story of a world where a virus kills all men that land there and integrates itself
into the women's bodies, with some very interesting effects. This is an all-woman story set in different cultures, but
focusing on one traveler who learns about her own place as she deals with
the virus, a new love, and a possible war. The women in Griffith's stories
survive in situations of abandonment, captivity, and abuse, and
come through in record style, picking up some serious bitchiness along the way.
Amazon by Barbara Walker|
An Amazon woman gets transported through time to modern day America and is rescued by a modern day woman. The heroine is strong, able, has a
mind of her own and acts on her convictions. She examines contemporary
society, sexuality, Christianity, and how they have shaped women's
lives. A thought-provoking read.
Angry Women - by the RESearch folks|
A compilation of interviews
with the angriest, kick ass, hip, HBs around e.g. Diamanda Galas (who
makes even polly jean look like a choir girl), Linda Montano, Susie
Bright, etc. RESearch recently published a sequel called: Angry Women
in Rock, with quotes like "All women should carry guns. They're the only
ones who really need them." Both books are true, righteous HB material.
Arrows of the Queen - by Mercedes Lackey|
The heroine isn't exactly bitchy but there are definitely some HB's in high
positions - like the Queen - and it's just a good ol' read...
Atlas Shrugged - by Ayn Rand|
Features my favorite female heroine
of all time- Dagny Taggart. In a classic reversal, she is the strong and
independent industrialist amidst a group of rich-boy male whiners. Near
the end of the novel, Dagny is single-handedly responsible for keeping
the collapse of the U.S. economy at bay. her integrity and
self-confidence are the epitome of the HB, and she truly earns the
respect of her peers.
Aurora Leigh - a novel length poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.|
The general opinion about Elizabeth is that everything she wrote was mushy,
"How do I love thee?" stuff, but she was a gutsy woman. One of the
characters in this poem is an unwed mother who had the chance to marry
and, in nineteenth century terms, to be redeemed, but chose not to.
Aurora herself wouldn't marry the man she loved until he had read her
work and loved and admired her for her worth as a human being. It's a
bit difficult to get into, as it's entirely in verse, but well worth the
The Awakening - by Kate Chopin|
One of the great American novels. Edna Pontellier is a
woman in turn-of-the-century New Orleans, and
she awakens to the realization that there is more to
life than being a wife and mother. Early in the novel
she states that she would give up the unessential, but
she would never sacrifice herself for her children. The
rest of the novel reveals the full implications of that
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Bastard Out of Carolina - by Dorothy Allison|
-- The story of a young girl growing up in the deep south. When her mother remarries,
she must learn to survive her abusive stepfather and ultimately make
cruicial decisions which will change the course of her life.
Beauty - by Sheri S. Tepper|
A novel based on the various helpless-women fairy tales we were all
weaned on. The central character, Beauty, learns to work
with her strengths and shortcomings. She has her physical
attractiveness taken away from her after having learned that
a) it was only an illusion anyway, and b) it wasn't always
a benefit to be beautiful, and the most important parts of
a person have nothing to do with how they look. Beauty
gradually becomes a real woman instead of just a lovely
icon. Without revealing the complex (but very readable) plot,
I will say that she sets a unique and ruthless revenge
time bomb--many years in advance--for a man who hurt her.
There is humor, pain, suffering, some love and happiness,
and though it is far from hopeless in its reality sucks
message, nobody really lives happily ever after. What a
relief--women have been bludgeoned by that myth far too long.
Beauty Fades, Dumb Is Forever : The Making of a Happy Woman - by Judy Sheindlin |
From the Amazon.com synopsis:
With her trademark humor, yet no-holds-barred style, Judge Judy gives women the "heads
up" on feeling unshakably good about themselves. She explores most women's almost
automatic need to defer to men, and demonstrates how women can grow in confidence and
inner strength. Funny, direct, harsh as truth itself, here Judge Judy confronts that reality, using
sample cases, punctuated with her own stories, and interviews with women of every
background--from the most affluent and successful, to young girls just starting out
The Bell Jar - by Slyvia Plath|
Sylvia Plath's semi-autobiographical novel of one woman's descent into madness, and
her re-emergence into sanity. The story is told with wry, biting humor, and rife
with cynicism, and satire.
Bitch : In Praise of Difficult Women - by Elizabeth Wurtzel|
From The Washington Post Book World, Barbara Raskin -
"Bitch is a show-stopping, name-dropping, gossip-dishing, wild rock-n-roll performance--a Janis Joplin-Courtney Love-Madonna-style raucous, raving, ranting, shout-in-your-face soliloquy.... Although I'm not always certain what the author is saying, I definitely love her for saying it."
Bitter Grounds - by Sandra Benitez|
"Chronicles the lives of three generations of women in war-torn El Salvador. After losing most of their family during the
massacres of 1932, Mercedes Prietas and her daughter Jacinta go to work
for Elena de Contreras and her family, who own enormous coffee and cotton plantations. During the next 40 years, the
women of both families help each other endure the many hardships that come
their way." --HB Bookclub nomininee
Blessings - by Sheneska Jackson|
(Fiction) - "At the center of the novel are four vibrant women who are searching for happiness as they grapple with such difficult issues
as female bonding, infertility, adoption, abortion, and child discipline." --HB Bookclub nomininee
Blue Heaven - by Joe Keenan|
This book is about aspiring composer Philip Cavagnaugh, his friend and
sometimes lover Gilbert Selwyn, and Gilbert's hapless plan to marry
superbitch Moira Fitch in order to collect a fortune in presents from
Gilbert's (unknown to them initially) mafia in-laws and Moira's duchess
mother. A typical reaction to someone learning that Gilbert is going to
marry Moira is "that cunt?". Gilbert himself once said of Moira that
"when she sucks on an icecube, it doesn't melt, it gets bigger."
WARNING, DO NOT READ FURTHER UNLESS YOU WANT TO HAVE MANY OF THE PLOT
TWISTS OF THIS INCREDIBLY FUNNY BOOK RUINED FOR YOU
Some of Moira's heartless achievements are:
Moira generally lies to everyone involved, including her co-conspirators.
In this respect, she may be more of a "Conniving" Bitch rather than a "Heartless" Bitch, though
she probably fits in both categories.
- her "duchess" mother actually turns out to be living in a trailer in the desert without a
trace of royalty
- she informs Gilbert that they are being blackmailed by an old enemy of Gilberts
- she forces Gilbert and Phillip to come up with $7,000 in blackmail money, and then keeps the blackmail money for
- she carries on an affair with the aging Mr. Bombelli in order to collect additional presents
This is the funniest book I've read in years. I highly recommend it. The author, Joe
Keenan, is the head writer for the TV show, "Frazier". Unfortunately the sequel to
Blue Heaven, "Putting on the Ritz", wasn't quite as good, but has it's
moments in a send-up of a Donald Trump type.
Bone - by Jeff Smith
Image Comics, 2400 E. Katella Ave. Suite 1065, Anaheim, CA 92806|
If you like things like Chuck Jones' animated work (Bugs Bunny, the Road
Runner, some Tom & Jerry, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Phantom
Tollbooth . . .), you'll love this; witty, hilarious, tongue-in-cheek,
adventure-packed, intelligently whimsical, and wonderfully drawn. Look for
the cow-racing, salty-tongued Gramma Ben, a great HB prototype. TPB
The Book of Morgaine - by C.J. Cherryh|
Consisting of the titles,"Gate of Ivrel", "Well of Shiuan", "Fires of Azeroth", and
Morgaine is the last of a team dispatched to close the Gates, a
technology the qhal used to travel between worlds and time. She is
single-minded in her determination, traveling through each gate to
destroy it. She is a killer of armies, carrying the blade Changling.
She "claims" Vanye, a disgraced warrior. A truly heartless bitch, she
uses him and everyone else to accomplish her purpose.
The Book of Women: 300 Notable Women that History passed By - by Lynne Griffin and Kelly McCann|
This book features paragraph-long bios of women, almost all
of whom should be on your Honorary HB list. Plus, you
probably haven't heard of most of them. Here's our favorite:
From Page 18:
Bickerdyke was a one woman whirlwind whose sole aim during
the Civil War was to more efficiently care for wounded Union
soldiers, no matter what. If improving the level of care
meant scrubbing up after filthy, incompetent doctors, then
she would scrub every surface in sight. If improving the
level of care meant antagonizing the hospital staff by
threatening to report drunken physicians, then she would
antagonize them. If improving the level of care meant ordering
a staff member who had illegally appropriated garments meant
for the wounded to strip the clothes off, then she would order
him to strip! Bickerdyke stepped on a lot of male toes, but
she won most of her fights. One ruffled male appealed to
General William Tecumseh Sherman to take action against her,
but was disappointed by the reply he received: "Well, I can
do nothing for you; she outranks me."
Butterfly - by Kathryn Harvey (Villard Books 1988)|
Synopsis from inside of the dust-jacket:
Why would a woman completely transform herself-her face and her
life-and, with relentless determination, build a
multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills empire?
Why would she start the world's most unusual brothel,
where women go to fulfill their wildest sexual fantasies?
On glamorous Rodeo Drive in Bevely Hills is an exclusive men's
store, one of many. But this particular boutique is special.
If you look closely, you'll notice that some of the female
shoppers are wearing identical bracelets with an elegant
butterfly symbol. Although the butterfly bracelet could pass
as the fashion trend of the moment, it is really something
more-a ticket of admission to "Butterfly," the world's most
astonishing brothel. Here, at Butterfly, women can fulfill
their wildest sexual fantasies, in any type of setting they
choose, with any partner they desire. Sheer paradise-except
when the private obsessions acted out at Butterfly begin to
take over the public lives of some very highly placed, very
Butterfly is the complex story of several women who control
this secret place, each with a broken heart, a secret past,
a desire for success, and, above all, an insatiable lust for
revenge. Gradually, their destinies come together in a shocking
conclusion, in which all is revealed-including the identity
of the mysterious proprietor of Butterfly.
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The Callahan Chronicles - by Spider Robinson|
The basic plot in these books is: a couple from the future is sent back in time to prevent the destruction of the Earth. (OK, sounds trite, but it's all uphill from there.) The man in this couple is Mike Callahan, he runs a bar while his wife runs a unique house in the red light district for both men and women artists. They bring with them an open attitude regarding gender roles, sexuality, profession and species, while at the same time insisting on personal accountability, integrity, achievements, friendship and community involvement. Simultaneously they demand to have a good time, puns, pranks, jokes, or a good game of chess are all acceptable. This attitude attracts a diverse group of friends who have interesting experiences and episodes of personal growth.
This series of books is as funny as Esther Friesner's Chicks series and is as much fantasy as sci-fi in nature.
Catch & Release - the Insider's Guide to Alaska Men - by Jane Haigh, Patricia Walsh, & Kelley Hegarty Lammers |
From Terrence Cole, Fairbanks Daily News Miner -- "Not every Alaska man or woman who reads "The Insider's Guide to Alaska Men" will think it's immediately humorous, and that's why this is such a hilarious book. Three Fairbanks women Jane Haigh, Kelley Hegarty Lammers and Pat Walsh prove that truth is funnier than fiction. For good reason, local booksellers report that this light-hearted look at Alaskans of the male persuasion is a best-seller. Virtually every chapter deserves the Dave Barry refrain: We're not making this up." In fact, Barry could probably get ideas for a years worth of columns out of "Catch and Release", and this book would keep the "Red Green Show "supplied with material until well into syndication. "
Cat's Eye - by Margaret Atwood|
A searingly straight story of teenage
bullying and our talent as women for victimizing ourselves. Good people
would side with the victim, and even we bitches think the bully is too
much. A must-read for everyone with teenage daughters or too many axes to
grind, because the victim works her way out of the oppression and gets
Chicks in Chainmail - Friesner, Esther, ed.|
First off, in the introduction, Esther says that the publishers
cringed at her title for this collection of off-beat fantasy stories.
The stories all deal with heroines in traditional fantasy settings,
but not the traditional outcomes. Imagine a story where the king
decides that brass brassieres are taxable (because they aren't
required equipment), but that jock straps are exempt -- and the ladies
end up being able to solve this through their HMO (and get the king
to change the law, because the treasury is going broke from the solution).
Or what happens when Hillary Clinton ends up in Valhalla after a
train wreck. Odin sends her back. These are stories all about
women using their brains and muscles.
In fact, the only male supporting hero isn't the sort of whining
character we all despise -- he gets in there and does something.
The real joke is on the losers who bought this book imagining some kind of Tits-and-Ass
content, only to find out that they don't get it!!
Chicks II and III - edited by Esther Friesner
The follow-on anthologies in the "Chicks in Chainmail" series: "Did You Say Chicks!? (Smile When You Say That)"
and "Chicks 'n Chained Males".
The second book has the same themes as the first "Chicks", and Chicks III
has a central theme of males in distress, rescued by knights in shining
bronze bras. Both anthologies are full of humor, wit, and insight, and
definately contain their share of Heartless Bitches. In fact, one of the
stories in Chicks II is titled "A Bitch In Time". Wonderful Collections!
Children of Violence Series - by Doris Lessing|
A series which tells the story of Martha Quest, a true HB, just like the author, growing up in the
snobby, racist, white environment of colonial southern Africa. She leaves
her husband and child to join the Communists in kicking the nazis' asses,
in a society where it is shocking for a woman even to think an independent
thought. Doris Lessing's a genius and an HB goddess...
In the series are the following books: Martha Quest A Proper Marriage
A Ripple From the Storm
The Four-gated City
A quote on men (and certain women):
"Martha interrupted with,' I don't see
why we should treat them like so many children.' She resented having to
use that 'we', associating herself with Mrs. Talbot's division of humanity."
Christopher Rowley - A series of books about a boy and
his dragon. In order, they are:
1. Bazil Broketail
2. A Sword for a Dragon
3. Dragons of War
5. The Wizard and the Floating City.
Although the main characters are a boy and his dragon,
one of the major elements is about an empire that is
run (controlled) by women. (Real Heartless Bitches).
They run it for the greater good of all, which means that
they have to make some rather ruthless decisions, including
getting rid of unpleasant people (mainly men) who threaten
the stability of the empire.
The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to his White Mother - by James McBride|
A jewish woman marries a black man in 1941. She raises 12 children
who all grow up to have college degrees. When her son asks her what
color "God" is, she says "God is the color of water". Very inspirational
It is for all HB's as she fights hard for her children, but doesn't let
the biggots affect her.
The Coldest WINTER Ever - by Sister Souljah|
Winter, the main character in this book, is the epitome of Heartless Bitchiness. Over the course of a year,her life gets twisted in all directions, family and friends turn their backs on her and she finds herself alone, yet somehow, she manages to keep a cool head- using her street smarts and sexuality to pull herself through.
The Color Purple - by Alice Walker |
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. While the main character, Celie, starts off
the book as a victim of abuse, forced marriage, and spousal abuse,
she pulls herself up with the help of her husband's mistress.
She eventually leaves her husband, finds a life of her own, and starts her own business.
Pretty impressive, considering that she's black and living in the deep
South around the turn-of-the-century.
Contact - by Carl Sagan|
The main plot of the book is the journey of a scientist, Ellie Straghton,
through her discovery of intelligent life on other planets and all the
implications in society and in her own perception of the world. Ellie is
one smart, sensible and determined bitch, she stands for herself, fights
for her discovery and is sensitive and self-aware enough to understand
the deeper meaning of all she goes through. The sub-plot about the
existence of God challenges conventional thinking. The main character is
the quintessential Heartless Bitch: calm, competent,
self-aware and fiercely smart. Actress and director Jodie Foster adapted
this book for the screen, and, although the movie did capture some of the
sense of wonder and philosophical aspects of the book, Sagan's work is
much, much deeper, and the main characters are much more developped.
Control Freak - by Christa Faust|
An erotic novel in which the protagonist, Caitlin, a writer of cheesy
potboilers, discovers her true nature while going "undercover" at an
exclusive S&M club, trying to dredge up information about the gruesome
mutilation killing of a former "slave" of the club. The book isn't so
much about the whodunit as an exploration of Caitlin's emerging dominant
persona and the things she discovers about herself. There are some
graphic parts, sexual and otherwise, so it's definitely not for kids, and
those uncomfortable with descriptions of S&M scenes may want to give it a
pass. Caitlin is a real Heartless Bitch to begin with, and the
development of her character is very well done.
Conundrum: An Extraordinary Narrative of Transsexualism - by Jan Morris|
(Autobiography) The elegantly written memoir of a renowned travel writer’s journey across the boundaries of sexual identity. --HB Bookclub nomininee
Courage to Heal - by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis|
(From "The WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women;" review by Patricia Pettijohn , February 1, 1997)
The classic and definitive self-help guide for women survivors of sexual
abuse, The Courage To Heal is a tool for recovery that works. This is
also the book often cited by those who challenge the credibility of
incest survivors. Some survivors of childhood abuse recover memories of
these traumatic early experiences years after the original events, and
it is these recovered memories that are said to be false memories,
implanted in the allegedly impressionable minds of survivors. I was
curious to see how this revised and expanded third edition would differ
from the much maligned first. In addition to an Afterword that carefully
analyzes and refutes the false memory syndrome argument, the authors
have made revisions throughout the book which offer guidelines for
assessing confusing memories. The authors' commitment to survivors is
clear throughout the book, beginning with the book's endorsements, which
come not from therapists, but from anonymous survivors. This is a
comprehensive, supportive, carefully worded and often passionate book,
as helpful for those who are the partners, friends or family of
survivors, as for survivors themselves.
Crazy in Alabama --I don't know if it was more heartless or determined
chasing of a goal, but it is a book about a very weird woman. She
gets sick of her hubby and kids so she kills the husband and ditches the
kids at Grandma's. She then takes off for California screwing over a
number of guys along the way. The weird bit though is, she takes her
husband's head with her. It's a fun read. There's also a second plot
about racial intolerance in the south during the 1950s playing in the
Crocodile On The Sandbank - by Elizabeth Peters |
A mystery set in the late 1800s. The main character is a strong woman
who doesn't feel the need for a man to fill any voids in her life. Her
outlook challenges many gender notions from that time period as well as
Crypt of Dawn - by Joseph Michael Linsner|
This grahic novel, set in Manhattan, comes highly rated, and the artwork is superb.
JML's portrayal of a beautiful woman goes beyond the 'norm. Not only
is Dawn beautiful, she battles both the hierarchies of above and
"As a being who can travel to Heaven and Hell and all points in
between, Dawn dances in and out of the lives of both mortals and gods
alike. She normally acts as a catalyst in human affairs, or an
impartial observer or messenger in the affairs of God and Lucifer."
More information about Dawn can be found at the Sirius website!
Cunt : A Declaration of Independence - by Inga Muscio|
Cunt is a grossly empowering book which provides a genealogical account
of the word "cunt" and how it acquired the negative conotation which has
been manifested in the way society views women and how women view
themselves. In a humorous and frank manner, Muscio expoundes upon
personal experience as well as historical experiences of women as a
whole, arming women with the knowledge to reclaim their bodies and their
Cutting loose: Why women who end their marriages do so Well - by Ashton Applewhite|
This book describes women who both ended their marriages and not only
but thrived. Many of the women were emotional children when they married
and discovered a core of steel within as they fought for their own
well-being. Some had to fight divorce lawyers as well as slimy
soon-to-be-ex-husbands who attempted to screw them over as well. This book
is an inspiration and a counterpoint to the popular idea bandied about as
truth that women lose out on life when they divorce. It also shows the
process that some women go through in becoming heartless bitches.
Cybil Disobedience : How I Survived Beauty Pageants, Elvis, Sex, Bruce Willis, Lies, Marriage, Motherhood, Hollywood, and the Irrepressible Urge to Say What I Think
- by Cybil Shepard |
This is a true Heartless Bitch. I must say I admire this woman for
speaking out against the masses that consider women over 40 to be
clinically dead. Its a must read for woman who have had to beat the
Cynic's Lexicon - by Jonathon Green|
Revealing the cynic's approach to the important things in life, this is
an unabashed collection of utterly amoral advice that is both stylish
Cyteen - by C.J. Cherryh|
In a futuristic world of cybernetics, two young friends become trapped in an endless nightmare
of suspicion, surveillance, programmable servants, a centuries-old ruling class, and an enigmatic
Heartless Bitch of a woman who rules them all.
This book is a compendium of all 3 volumes in the original trilogy.
Tell us about more books we should add to this list.
Be sure to add some kind of short review or commentary about the book as well
as the title and author!
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